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by Zadie Smith
If a first novel fails to become a blockbuster, as almost all of them do, publishers are less inclined to get behind the follow-up by a writer who has gained a dubious track record but has lost that most precious of all literary selling points: novelty. Writers get only one shot at becoming The Next Big Thing.
This kind of gymnastic use of a single word is Smith's specialty, but instead of simply engaging in verbal pyrotechnics for their own sake, Smith wants to understand the dynamic between language and our inner lives.
It’s with a sense of incompletion that I offer my nine recommendations here for January, books and poems that begin, or hinge, or are contained in the year’s first month.
I did something crazy this year. I blew half of a freelancing check on the complete, seven-volume edition of William T. Vollmann's 3,000 page essay on violence, Rising Up and Rising Down.
For a ninth year, some of our favorite writers, thinkers, and readers will look back, reflect, and share. Their charge was to name, from all the books they read this year, the one(s) that meant the most to them, regardless of publication date. Grouped together, these ruminations, cheers, squibs, and essays will be a chronicle of reading and good books from every era.
Smith is able to build a very solid portrait of her protagonist from bits and pieces, implying that this is how we are all fashioned by our society and that perhaps such a form is the best way to render modern experience.
You can critique the critics. You can be a meta-Michiko. Use this knowledge wisely.
It shows adulthood and devotedness, I think, to try and get back to a book you love, every four seasons or so. So which books do you all reread yearly, or biannually, or quadrennially, or decennially, and why?
At their best, acknowledgements can be finely-wrought short stories with the author as protagonist. At least one acknowledgements has made me cry.
Award-winning polyglot Turkish author Elif Şafak has been accused of plagiarism by a translator in Turkey, where her newest novel Iskender was released on August 1.
Huge claims have been made on behalf of the novelist Tom McCarthy. But what do they actually tell us about "the future of fiction?"
Why so much genius? Why now?
By way of starting a conversation about the ideal marriage of text and transportation, we've asked our contributors and readers to make reading recommendations for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Our distinguished panel selected 20 incredible books as their Best of the Millennium (So Far). What were our readers' favorites from the decade now coming to a close?